Pennsylvania Attorney General sues billionaire Sackler family, owners of Oxycontin maker |

Pennsylvania Attorney General sues billionaire Sackler family, owners of Oxycontin maker

Jacob Tierney

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is suing the family that owns Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin — a powerful prescription opioid pain medication that proved to be a multi-billion cash cow.

Details of the lawsuit are sealed, but it alleges members of the Sackler family are “personally liable” for the opioid crisis because of their role in promoting Oxycontin, a brand-name version of oxycodone.

“The Sacklers’ mission to avoid accountability and transparency stops here,” Shapiro said in a statement. “The lawsuit I filed on behalf of all Pennsylvanians seeks to require this family of billionaires, who orchestrated opioids into as many doctor’s offices, pharmacies and medicine cabinets as possible, takes responsibility for the pain they caused.”

The lawsuit filed this week comes on the heels of a tentative settlement that would end lawsuits between Purdue and thousands of local and state governments.

Settlement details have yet to be finalized, but the Associated Press reports it will require the Sacklers to give up control of Purdue, with the Stamford, Conn.-based company paying about $12 billion over time for its role in the opioid crisis.

Shapiro was involved in negotiating that settlement on Pennsylvania’s behalf but chose to reject the deal rather than accept Purdue’s terms, according to his office.

Shapiro slammed the settlement on Twitter, calling it an “insultingly weak offer” that allows the Sacklers to “walk away billionaires.”

The Sackler family is worth an estimated $13 billion, according to Forbes.

Shapiro isn’t the only attorney general to shun the proposed settlement. Attorneys general in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have refused to sign on, according to the New York Times.

Other states have filed suit against the Sackler family in recent weeks, including Virginia, New Mexico and Delaware, according to the New York Times.

This is Shapiro’s second Purdue-related lawsuit this year. In May, he sued Purdue for allegedly violating the Consumer Protection Law in its efforts to market Oxycontin in Pennsylvania.

That suit seeks $1,000 for every violation and $3,000 for violations involving patients 60 or older. It does not give an exact number of violations.

Oxycontin, which was once marketed as a nonaddictive alternative to morphine and other painkillers, is considered one of the driving causes of the opiate epidemic.

On average, 12 Pennsylvanians die each day from opioid overdoses, according to Shapiro’s office.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | News | Pennsylvania
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.